Friday, May 27, 2011

No Pain!

Jim and I enjoyed a wonderful, cool, but sunny 5-mile run on the grass/dirt trails in the park this morning. He is recovering from an injury, and I am trying to get past "runner’s knee." He didn’t complain of pain, and neither did I. The knee muttered softly, but never really called out about any problem. I ran all of the way except over short fields of gopher holes, and down a few steep hills. I ran uphill! Toward the end I was pooped, unfortunately, but this was fast for me (usually is with Jim) and endurance will come if I can run like this more frequently and longer.

5.0 miles in 51 minutes even - that’s a pace of 10:12, which is very good for me on these hilly trails. It’s a masterpiece!

Tonight's dinner: Chicken bake with leftover organic chicken, organic peas & spinach, quinoa, and three cheeses. Add organic grapes, organic strawberries, and colorful organic heritage plum tomatos. Plus a bottle of pretty good beer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Patellofemoral Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011:

The Woodbury Runners were reduced to just four today by a competing 3M Club picnic, as many of the Woodbury Runners are also 3M employees. Rich and I ran behind Pete and Mark, WAY behind actually, completing a 5.8-mile loop in 1:01:51, for a pace of 10:40. I could have sworn it was faster, actually, because I was working mighty hard to keep up with Rich, but that’s a hilly course and I guess we did OK. Patellofemoral (PFS) pain in the right knee was minor!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011:

I had my first therapy session today, and the therapist, also a runner, definitely agreed with the doctor’s diagnosis of patellofemoral syndrome (PFS). When I objected that the pain strikes very suddenly, in one stride, she explained that the kneecap (patella) can suddenly slip sideways off the groove in which it is supposed to ride. It may occur in runners with tight ligaments or muscles, imbalanced muscle pull, or an incorrect angle of knee alignment.

The therapist diagnosed both tight muscles/ligaments and imbalanced muscle pull (weak muscles), and prescribed five different core-strengthening exercises to be done along with my usual runner’s stretches. Three more sessions are scheduled, and at least one will include an evaluation of my running form. Hey, I’m interested.

The good news is: In my case, I can run with PFS pain without concern about further injuring the knee. If I can stand the pain, I can run, except, of course, pain means that the PFS will not heal as quickly. See - that’s why you want a runner as your therapist or trainer. Anyone else would just say “stop running,” but a runner understands what a sacrifice that is and will explain the tradeoff. OK, I get it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011:

Six miles on the grass/gravel/dirt trails in the park, almost all running, very intense. I decided to see if the patellofemoral pain would appear, on the morning just before the first therapy session. It only barely showed up, and the pain felt like it was higher in the kneecap than on prior occasions. It seems to show up a little less when running on dirt than on pavement, and it actually disappeared as I ran, even though I did as little walking as possible.

6.24 miles in 1:12:27, pace 11:37. I can do better than THAT on those trails, but I was bushed today from yesterday’s yard work, which included hours of chain-sawing a nephew’s tornado-downed trees, and more. It’s good to be tired from physical exertion, though, makes for excellent sleep.

Saturday, May 21, 2011:

The world didn’t end today. Good thing, too, because otherwise our trip down to Mayo Clinic would have been a huge waste of time. We heard an acclaimed doctor discuss new treatments for myeloma, very interesting to me but only of future value.

Gateway trail today, I did the walk/run, 30 seconds and 30 seconds, and experienced very little pain. This was a good run - it’s a masterpiece.

Splits: 11:37, 11:14, 11:57, 11:40, 11:33, 11:43, 11:59, total 1:21:46, seven miles, pace 11:41.

A breakfast that doesn't leave you hungry by 10:00 am:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eight Miles on the RR Tracks

One of my favorite trails is a gravelly dirt road alongside the railroad tracks. It goes for miles, all the way from Bayport to St Paul, and I like to start somewhere near the middle and run out and back in both directions. It’s mostly soft dirt, quite flat, very quiet, and ocasionally brightened by a train. There are two problems, though: (1) In most places, the little road is strewn here and there with stones an inch or two in dimension, the kind that make up the bed that the track and the ties rest upon, so the footing is slightly treacherous; and (2) There are no mile markers of any kind. In fact, I might have run a bit overlong in one direction today - I’ll bring it up on Google Earth again to get a good look at the trail.

I ran two miles one way & back, then dropped a shirt at the car and went two miles the other way & back, total 8 miles. Because I’m trying to get past a “runner’s knee” problem, I mixed walking and running, which seems to help prevent the knee pain. Just a few seconds of walking apparently lets the knee recover after a short run. The first four miles I ran 30 seconds and walked 30, then the next four I ran 45 and walked 30. Looking at the splits, I think that the 30/30 pace came out to perhaps 12 minutes/mile, and the 45/30 pace came closer to 11 minutes/mile.

THE KNEE DIDN’T HURT. At all. I think it would have hurt if I had run all of the time, but this worked today, and I probably could have mixed in even more running. Now, afterward, the knee is a little cranky but not bad. It’s a masterpiece!

Splits: 12:02, 13:23, 12:23, 11:03, 11:05, 11:03, 10:58, 11:10, total 1:33:10, overall pace 11:39.

Breakfast after the run: Trader Joue's gluten-free granola with organic fruits, berries, and yogurt. Just a couple of bites of very dark chocolate.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

6-Mile Run

An hour and twenty minutes on the grass trails in the park, going as fast as I could without annoying my sore right knee too much. I think I ran about 6.2 miles, which would work out to a pace of about 13 minutes per mile. Most of the time I ran 20 seconds and walked 30, and I think I got away with it.

The knee felt fine during the walks and pretty good during the runs, especially after the first couple of miles. Oddly, it feels much better going uphill than down. Afterward, it’s not quite as good as it was before the run, but I think tomorrow it will be. I’ll take tomorrow off from running, try the same tricks again Thursday.

Mostly organic:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Classic Runners' Knee

Monday, May 16, 2011:

Dr Ronald Yee at SMG. For my knee. He’s a sports doctor, fairly young, but seems to really know what he’s doing. He did a lot of prodding, poking, and bending, of course, and took several X-rays. Results:

  • The prodding and poking didn’t seem conclusive to me, but he diagnosed the pain as “classic runners' knee,” otherwise known as patellofemoral pain syndrome.
  • He ordered therapy, suggesting Katie Larson at OSI, who herself is a runner.
  • We discussed the possibility that the underlying problem might be a piece of stray cartilage floating in the joint. If so, we’ll need an MRI to find it.
  • He also made sure I understood that he wants to see me again in 4 to 5 weeks if there is no improvement.
  • The X-ray disclosed no problem, and in fact he said that for my age the meniscus looks “fantastic.” So I haven’t wrecked that yet.
He also said that I should avoid doing things that hurt very much, if possible, but if I just have to run a particular marathon to get that particular state, then do it. I think this was his way of saying that I probably won’t do permanent injury by running on pain, but it sure as heck won’t get better. OK, I get it.

Personally I think it’s more likely a “floater” in the knee joint, rather than runner’s knee. Either way, we’ll figure it out.

I have an appointment with Katie Larson next week, and I’m going running tomorrow. Easy does it. I’m SO HAPPY that it isn’t a more serious problem - this will NOT stop my running. It’s a masterpiece.

Sunday, May 15, 2011:

We ran on the Gateway Trail today, from the Hwy 96 bridge up toward the new Manning Avenue Bridge and back. I had knee pain right away and quickly gave up on running all the time, switching to run/walk right away, 30 seconds run and 30 seconds walk.

Gradually the pain went away, and in the last two miles I switched to 60 seconds run and 30 walk. Then, with only 2/3 mile remaining, I turned to reverse course and the knee immediately started to hurt. I had to walk most of that last 2/3 mile.

Not a masterpiece for running, but what a beautiful day it was. 65 degrees and sunny, breezy, just lovely.

Definitely going to the doctor tomorrow.

Splits: 3:54 (1/3 mi), 11:30, 10:08, 18:59 (1 1/2 mi), 11:34, 3:39 (1/3 mi), 15:03 (1 1/3 mi), total 6.5 mi in 1:11:05, pace 10:56.

Saturday, May 14, 2011:

This started out as an easy 6-mile run in the park, but ended up as mostly a walk. Almost right away, my right knee started to hurt, in the joint itself. I couldn’t tell if it hurt more on the footfall or the lift. The pain was easily tolerable - I could run on it and I did run for most of a mile, but became concerned about injuring the knee and started to walk instead. It didn’t hurt to walk.

Rats. This is the knee problem that’s been lurking for several years now. Several times, starting February 16, 2008, that knee has “locked up,” leaving me hopping for a moment on the other leg. It clears up fairly soon, and I can run again, but it comes back from time to time, as it did today. I hope it doesn’t tomorrow. I realize that I’ve been favoring that knee lately when going downstairs - it hurts if I put weight on the knee while bending it. Oddly, though, it doesn’t hurt going upstairs. I haven’t seen a doctor about this in three years - perhaps it’s time.

One issue: Today was cold and windy, 48 degrees and 15-20 mph, and I ran in shorts. Knees got pretty cold. It’s possible that the knee would have been fine in warmer weather. It’ll be 60 tomorrow, perfect for running.

No masterpiece today though.

There's oatmeal under there somewhere:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nice Semi-Long Run

Fourteen miles on the paved trails in the park, a training/taper run for the next marathon, no problems. Murmurings from the right knee, left hip flexors, and left hamstrings, but nothing serious.

I took three Clif Shot gels, several salt tablets, and plenty of water, running 2/3 of the time and walking 1/3, just as I might in a marathon. Overall pace was 11:13, good enough for 10 days after running a marathon. Surprisingly, I felt stronger at the end than I did at the start. It’s a masterpiece!

Breakfast after the run, pretty much everything organic.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Good Run In The Park

Monday, May 9, 2011:

I had a very good run in the park today, using the paved trails because of recent rain. NO walking at all - one brief stop to clear a fallen branch from the trail.

Not a lot of other people out there today, no doubt because of that rain. The forecast said that it might continue, but the radar showed that it was unlikely to happen soon, so we ran.

5.8 miles in 56:20, pace 9:43, almost as fast as I was running this route last summer. I can get there.

Slight pain in the middle of the right knee joint, went away over the first two miles. It’s a masterpiece!

Saturday, May 7, 2011:

St Croix Runners, regular Saturday 5-mile run. First run with them this year. I ran with Dave, who right now seems to be uninjured and quite a bit faster than I am. Everyone in the group is! He was kind enough, though, to reign in a bit for me and we had a nice chat.

Time 49:20, for a pace of about 9:52. It was all I could do today. My legs still felt tired from the marathon, and the right knee hurt a little at first.

Thursday, May 5, 2011:

3.7 miles in the park today, four days after the marathon. Feels great! I ran almost the whole way, including the hills. Legs wwere a bit tired, especially at the end, and my time was not great, but hey it’s the first run since the marathon.

Slight pain in the right knee, seems like right in the middle of the joint. It gradually went away as I ran. It’s a masterpiece!

Wild-caught Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, key lime jelly, organic sweet pickle relish, organic strawberries, organic spinach, organic quinoa, organic feta cheese, organic yogurt.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Amazing Marathon

Because it felt so good. What a turnaround. Two weeks ago I ran the most painful marathon of my life, and today I was pain-free the whole way. No complaints from knees, hips, or hip flexor muscles, just a minor thing in the left hamstring, nothing new. Probably, the difference is due to a new running regimen of 60 seconds walking (fast), and 30 seconds running, much easier on the joints. I was actually able to speed up a little in the last six miles, going to 30 seconds walking and 30 running, though the splits don't reflect it because much of it was uphill against the wind.

Muscles are sore and stiff, of course, it was still a 26.2-mile jaunt, but no cramps and I think they'll be better tomorrow and every day thereafter. Yay!

This was the Cox Sports Marathon in Providence, Rhode Island (where they run rhode races). I like this marathon:

  • Well organized, including the expo. People could even pick up bibs on the day of the race, though it was discouraged.
  • Lots and LOTS of cheerful volunteers, even for a back-of-the-pack runner like I was today.
  • Enough spectators that I heard "Go Don" a lot of times. I wore my name on my shirt as always.
  • Much of the marathon was on a beautiful trail with a brand-new surface, going through parts of Providence that are not accessible any other way.
  • The trail was not closed to normal use, so we mingled with walkers, other runners, and cyclists, no problem.
  • In the last mile or two we found dozens, maybe hundreds of cheerful signs encouraging the Team In Training (TNT) runners, who raised a lot of money today for research into leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. I like them a lot.
  • The trail was nearly flat. The roads were not flat, but all on all it was not a "challenging" race. Flat enough.
  • Pizza for runners along the way and at the finish line! I don't eat pizza, but others were enjoying it.
One negative: Quite a few of the miles were on roads which were not closed to traffic. The running area was usually coned off, but almost always on the right shoulder, so we were dealing with cars whizzing by a few feet away, and with the running surface always tilted the same way. I found myself looking back over my shoulder a lot to be sure the next driver was paying attention. Other runners expressed relief when we did get to the bike trail, which is not crowned like the roads. Nevertheless, I like this marathon and would run it again.

Marathon number 51 and state number 34 completed. Feels good. I've reached a point where I can list the 16 states that I have yet to run. Six Clif Shot gels, chocolate with caffeine, and probably about eight Thermotab salt tablets. Lots of water, the temperature was in the 60's much of the run. I wore a cap for vanity reasons (badly in need of a haircut), but learned to prefer a visor in warm weather because it's easier to dump water on my head. :-)

Two very nice photographers took videos of me running. They think it's surprising that a person can run 51 marathons with myeloma. It seems normal to me. I love running marathons! It's a masterpiece.

Splits: 12:10, 12:10, 38:10 (3 mi), 12:08, 11:42, 11:40, 11:58, 12:03, 13:02, 12:53, 12:27, 1:13 (0.11 mi, 2:41:35 total to here), 11:21, 12:28, 24:57 (2 mi), 12:43, 12:58, 25:09 (2 mi), 11:32, 12:35, 12:38, 12:10 (4:57:55 to here), 27:37 (2.22 mi), total 5:25:32, fourth of eight in the age group. Pretty consistent pace.

Sunshine and me after the race: